Directed by: John Cassavetes
Countries & Regions: United States
Studio: British Film Institute
Length: 141 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 17 September 2012
Cat No: BFIB1127
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A Woman Under the Influence
Although Nick (Peter Falk) and Mabel Longhetti (Gena Rowlands) still love each other, a failure to communicate leads to the deterioration... Read More
Nick Longhetti (Peter Falk) is abrupt, emotional, quick to anger, but also has moments of tenderness. His wife Mabel (Gina Rowlands) is socially inept and emotionally insecure. Her behavior is strange and inappropriate, but is she crazy, a danger to her children? John Cassavetes 1974 film A Woman Under the Influence does not supply an easy answer and the film can be viewed from different points of view. What is clear, however, is that the feuding couple, magnificently played by Peter Falk and Gina Rowlands, love each other but cannot express their love in socially acceptable ways. This is no movie family with ersatz emotions but the story of two flesh and blood human beings who feel and suffer and love. After spending two and one half emotionally exhausting hours with them, you will feel everything that they feel and become part of the family.
Mabel expends much of her energy trying to be the perfect wife and mother but has no strong sense of self. Nick, on the other hand, tries to avert being exposed as a fool, but in the effort to avoid embarrassment, makes an even bigger fool of himself. Nick and Mabel have problems and many are deep seated but the film is not despairing, nor is it a clinical study of the so-called mentally ill. Whatever their problems are, they are not that different than many married couples, only much more pronounced. In any event, they are human problems and we relate to the people on the screen as real human beings and we can sense a part of us in them. A Woman Under the Influence touches us, reaches us viscerally on a gut level and remains forever a part of our lives.